|A Tangled Web
Author: Eilidh17 PM
After his return from ascension, Daniel falls prey to a trap set by an unlikely source. Set in season 7 between Homecoming and Orpheus.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Hurt/Comfort - D. Jackson & J. O'Neill - Chapters: 7 - Words: 22,110 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 5 - Follows: 11 - Updated: 07-18-11 - Published: 06-18-11 - id: 7093593
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There shouldn't be any difference, Da'nar mused as Malek – the new Malek – wound himself around Da'nar's arm on a slow crawl up towards his mouth. Fear and trepidation were pushed aside in favor of natural curiosity as this being that was not Malek, but then again was in all the ways that mattered to Da'nar, instinctively sought out its true home – inside him. He knew this was Malek, could see the recognition and understanding in the symbiotes eyes as he drew ever closer, but there was something else in there as well now. A new personality had been blended into the mix, adding a layer of mystique to the oddity of symbiotic life.
Da'nar was almost inviting trouble, expecting some internal battle of the minds between the two personalities residing within the one being. Suddenly, as the realization of what he was about to become host to hit him, Da'nar froze, eyes transfixed on the looming beast as it nudged almost playfully at his lips, attempting to tease them open. The pain of symbiote penetration was something he remembered from all those centuries earlier, but he didn't let the fear own him, after all, the Tok'ra were benevolent, so the pain would be brief. This was something new, a double hosting if it was possible. Their internal struggles were about to become his. What if the Tau'ri mind was stronger than they had anticipated? Overbearing, dominating? Or worse still… unforgiving.
"Da'nar," Sina called to him and, looking up, he could see her eyes boring accusingly into him as though he was about to deny Malak back his life. "Is something wrong?"
Malek's insistent attempts to gain entry into his mouth became more passionate now, bordering on desperation, and looking down at the circling beast, Da'nar knew that failing to let him in could mean a forced penetration. Opening wide, barely keeping his lips from trembling, Da'nar took in a large lungful of air, drawing Malek in deep along with it, the symbiotes scales cutting sharply into his tongue and cheeks. His retching reflex was strong and it was a battle to control his nerves as Malek wriggled faster and in one swift stabbing motion, thrust his head through the back of Da'nar's throat, the impact almost knocking him off his feet.
Catching the side of Jackson's bed, Da'nar lowered himself to the ground as the muscles, sinew, and eventually the bones in his neck, all felt like they were being torn apart. Malek was busy making himself at home and Da'nar, a flash of memory tearing through his mind, remembered the bliss that awaited him as the symbiote released a numbing agent into his blood stream to start the healing process. His eyelids grew heavy, body feeling like it was on a heavy gravity planet, and Da'nar's last memory was that of Malek thanking him for his life…
… But there was something else stirring in his mind in those last moments of consciousness.
"Let me out of here, you bastard!"
Jack broke left, Teal'c to the right, and sprinting into the lab, Jack could see Daniel strapped to some table like a science experiment. More pressing through was the image of Sina, the Tok'ra operative's face lit up in pure surprise as she pushed away from the bed and turned towards an exit at the opposite end of the room.
Teal'c was quick though, and racing ahead of Jack, he lined the operative up and fired off a well aimed round into the back of her thigh. Stumbling, Sina cried out, arms flailing as she went down on one knee, blood blossoming from the perfectly centred hole in her leg.
"Carter!" Jack shouted out over his shoulder. Pulling up alongside Daniel's bed he caught Malek rising from the floor, his head twisted towards him, a laconic sneer on his blood tainted lips. "Whoa!" Jack lifted his P-90 up to his shoulder and teased the trigger, Malek's forehead centered in the cross-hairs of his scope. "Not a move. Hands up where I can see them and slide away from the bed, nice and slow."
"Your friend is merely asleep, Colonel."
"And I'm supposed to take your word on that?" he said, jaw tensing as he spied the empty symbiote tank sitting beside Daniel's bed.
"We never intended to-"
"Carter! Check on Daniel but don't release him." Jack waved the muzzle of his P-90 at the tank. "Make sure he hasn't got any… uninvited guests."
Already in the room, with a quietly subdued Tolaris in tow, Sam crossed to Daniel's bed. She let her weapon swing loose on its harness as she felt for the pulse point in his neck before placing her hand on his forehead, eyes closed in concentration. Moments later, lips curving upwards in a small smile, she reported, "He's clean, sir. Pulse is a little quick and thready."
"Good job." Jack let out a long held breath and lifting his brows, flicked his eyes towards the monitoring console. "What is that thing?"
Sam looked over the apparatus, and turning back to Daniel, ran a finger across the memory recall device still imbedded in his temple. "Looks like a monitoring station, sir. They've got him connected to a Tok'ra memory recall device, but there's something different about it."
"I don't know, sir." Sam gently picked up the wire connected to the device and traced it all the way back to the console, squinting as she tried to understand the various command functions on the interface. "These devices are remotely operated for the most part, although we have seen them directly interfaced with a heads up display that allows us to view the user's memories, but I don't see a screen."
"That is because there isn't one, Major," Tolaris offered. "This device was modified by Malek. Instead of having the ability to access and recount a person's memory, this device is able to transfer a memory from one user to another."
"Yes, and not just one memory. The device was initially altered to enable all of Malek's memories to be passed to a new symbiote."
"So this is how the Pangarans are involved! Somehow you managed to gain access to one of their symbiotes and transfer Malek's consciousness to it."
"Which explains that," Jack said looking back over at the empty tank. "But where's the snake?"
Da'nar's eyes flashed. "In me, of course."
"Whoa," Jack exclaimed as he took a reflexive jump back and retrained his sights on the Tok'ra. "Since when do the Tok'ra do that 'eye flashing' thing?"
Smiling at the fear he appeared to illicit in Jack, Malek brought his knees to his chest and pushed off the floor with his hands.
"Aht," Jack warned and over-exaggeratedly tapped the trigger guard as he followed Malek's slow decent back down to the ground.
"You won't shoot me, Colonel."
"I wouldn't go betting your mother's house on that."
"No," Malek chuckled lightly. "You see, if you kill me, then you also kill Dr. Jackson, and I really don't think you want to do that."
"Sir," Sam interjected, "I think they've completed the transfer of Daniel's consciousness into Malek!"
"You smarmy son-of-a-"
"You are wrong."
Jack turned to Tolaris, "What?"
"He is lying, Colonel." Turning to the console, Tolaris ran a hand across its interactive screen and toggling the display, brought the device online. "Major, I need you to remove the memory recall device from Dr. Jackson."
"Sir?" Carter looked across at Jack for permission.
"Do it, Carter."
Wincing, Sam turned Daniel's head away from her and teased a nail under the curved edge of the memory device, applying gentle but firm pressure until it came away and fell into her hand. Tossing the device aside, she looked questioning across at Tolaris, "Now what?"
"Malek is correct. The transfer has been completed, but…" A bright stream of text flowed across the glowing screen and nodding, Tolaris shut the device down and stepped away, a satisfied smile on his face. "It is as I suspected. The memory recall device as been programmed to essentially make a copy of the person's memory and transfer that on to a new host."
"Tolaris!" Malek snapped.
"No," Tolaris returned hotly. "What you have created here is an abomination. I respected your research into the viability of using the modified device on the Pangaran symbiote and even admired your bravery for being the first to test it, but you went too far."
"I took it to its natural conclusion, Tolaris! The Tok'ra as a species are dying. To have the ability to copy the memories of our people and reanimate them in the children our queen created… she deserved nothing less. We deserved nothing less. It was the only way we could guarantee our survival in the battle against the Goa'uld."
"But you wanted more!"
"I saw a great opportunity and took it. It surprised me that the Tok'ra council did not insist on using the memory recall devices to assist Doctor Jackson in recovering his lost memory in the first instance. We were well within our rights under the terms of the Tok'ra/Tau'ri alliance to request such action. Was not the sharing of intelligence not part of the agreement? I merely dared to do what they could not."
"You took, Malek. You did not ask."
Malek's face flashed his growing anger. "I used the modified device to make a copy of his memories. Imagine what we can learn from his time as an ascended being, Tolaris?"
"Wait," Jack crowed, "You've been able to access those memories already?"
"No," Malek conceded with a disgruntled sigh, "I had only just taken Da'nar back as a host shortly before you captured us and the blending process is not complete."
"Wouldn't that only impede your ability to access Da'nar's memories?" Sam asked. "Daniel's memories were transferred to you directly; you should be able to read his thoughts straight away."
"You are quite correct, Major Carter. However, I am busy repairing the damage done to Da'nar through re-taking him as a host and have not had time to access Doctor Jackson's memories, although I can feel his presence in my mind."
"I bet he's being nothing but a pain in the ass as well," Jack sneered.
"He was quite vocal, yes," Malek snipped, "I have been forced to suppress his personality so I can focus on more important matters."
"And what will you do with that information, Malek?" Tolaris stepped away from the console and spread his arms wide to encompass the room. "Use it for the betterment of the Tok'ra? Share it with our allies? Hardly likely now, considering the action you have taken. You have jeopardized our alliance with Tau'ri through your reckless behavior."
"No, Malek, don't answer him!" Sina called out from the far corner of the room where Teal'c had her on the ground, one hand under her thigh, blood oozing between her fingers. "We have no need to explain motives."
"Then try explaining it to me!" Selmac's voice boomed out from beyond the laboratory.
"Crap!" Jack swore as he swung his weapon towards the entrance, pursing his lips, brows rising in surprise as he spotted Selmac. "Way to sneak up on us."
"You should have been paying more attention, Colonel," Selmac teased as he strode into the lab, SG-3 hot on his six.
"And I see you brought reinforcements!"
"Colonel," Reynolds offered in salutation with a sharp nod, the rest of his team filing into the lab and taking up various points around the room. Lieutenant Mooney relieving Teal'c, who thanked him with a tilt of the head before moving across to Daniel.
"Colonel. Good to see you."
"Likewise, sir. Jacob and Selmac thought you might be in some trouble so the General ordered us along to help you out."
Looking down at Malek sitting on the floor, Jack hastily agreed, "Yes. The general is a wise man."
A soft low groan from the bed turned all eyes in Daniel's direction. Brow pinched, Daniel turned his head back to the side and started rubbing it against the bed. "No… off," he murmured, limbs moving restlessly against the restraints still holding him down.
"Reynolds, take over for me here," Jack said waving the muzzle of his weapon at Malek before moving to Daniel's side and pointing at his wrists. "Carter, how do we…?"
Tolaris reached in front of Sam and depressed a button under the lip of the bed that instantly retracted the restraints. Reaching out and picking up Daniel's arm, Sam inspected his wrist. The skin was raw and abused, dark ugly bruises already starting to form around the contact points.
"Daniel," Jack whispered, learning into Daniel's face. "Wakey, wakey. You're going to be late."
"Fer what," Daniel mumbled, still rubbing the side of his face against the bed, not realizing the memory device had been removed.
"We gotta go, buddy."
Daniel's eyes flew wide open, his breathing suddenly coming in short agonizing breaths and he looked wildly about the room, not really seeing anything at all. "No," he screamed and twisting towards Sam, pressed a hand to his temple, scratching furiously at the spot the memory device had been embedded.
Catching Daniel's hand and pulling it away, Sam place a hand on his shoulder and rubbed it soothingly. "It's gone, Daniel. I took it off."
"No." Daniel's breath hitched, and jerking his hand out of Sam's grip, he slapped it against his temple. "Don't do it!"
"Dammit, Daniel!" Jack yelled and pulled him over onto his back, dragging the errant hand away and holding it firm by his side. "Snap out of it!"
Daniel dragged in a ragged breath, and blinking owlishly, turned his head towards Jack. "Jack?"
"That'd be me."
"The Tok'ra, they're-"
Raising a shaky hand, Daniel held it in front of his face, turning it back and forth. "I'm still me?"
"They made a copy of your memories, Daniel," Sam offered in re-assurance. "You're still you, it's just that…"
"Yeah," Sam returned with a shrug.
Struggling to keep awake, Daniel peered out at him through heavily lidded eyes, and whispered, "He knows everything."
"We'll figure it out. Get some rest."
Daniel nodded once and let his eyes drift shut. When Jack was sure he was asleep, he turned to Selmac. "Exactly how do we figure this out?"
"The High Council of the Tok'ra will have to decide what action is to be taken against Malek and the other operatives involved."
"And what about us? Malek has illegally obtained information in his possession that could compromise Earth's defenses."
Selmac bowed his head and when he looked up, Jack was hit with a pained smile from Jacob Carter.
"Honestly, Jack. I have no idea what the council will decide here. Selmac is at a loss as well."
Jack jutted his chin towards the monitoring console. "What about that thing? Can't we just hook Malek back up to it and transfer his memory into another symbiote. Separate him from Daniel?"
"Fools!" Malek spat. "You don't know what you're dealing with here! It is impossible to separate two minds once they are blended in this manner. Our memories are mixed now. Everything that is me, the personality that is Doctor Jackson can now access. Nothing is held back." Closing his eyes, Malek smiled, his brows twitching and pinching. "Yes," he purred throatily, "I can already see much in his mind that would interest the Tok'ra."
"Won't interest them if they can't get it!" Jack shouldered his P-90 and aimed it straight at Malek's forehead, finger caressing the trigger. "I find lead between the eyes pretty much puts to rest most problems."
"Jack!" Jacob warned, pushing the barrel of the weapon away, earning him a dangerous glare from Jack. "It's not worth it. Let the High Council deal with him."
"Like they've dealt so successfully with problems in the past?"
"Your solution isn't much better, and besides, perhaps there is some merit in being able to access Daniel's ascended memories."
"Oh," Jack baulked, "here we go! I knew the Tok'ra would take advantage of this situation at the first opportunity. Not to put a finer point on things, Jacob, but this is akin to mental rape or had that fact not passed your mind?"
"I get it, Jack," Jacob looked back over at Daniel, curled up asleep on the bed, "and I'm sorry, but handing this whole mess over to the council is the only solution I can come up with this moment."
Jack scrubbed a hand across his stubbled chin, and giving Daniel one last long assessing look, pursed his lips and cocked his head towards Reynolds. "Take your team and help Jacob get this lot," he waved his hand at Malek, "back to the Tok'ra. I'll let Hammond know where you are. Report back as soon as possible."
"Yes, sir," Reynolds nodded tightly and moved off to organize his team.
Jack took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I'm trusting you on this one, Jacob. Don't let me down. Don't let Daniel down."
"You gonna eat that?" Jack surveyed the contents of Daniel's breakfast tray like a vulture to a free roadside meal, zeroing in on the bacon. "'Cause if you're not-"
"Take it, Jack," Daniel waved in the general direction of the tray, not bothering to open his eyes. "I'm finished."
"You didn't eat anything."
Daniel pinched the bridge of his nose and with a tolerant sigh, turned onto his side and buried his head in the pillow.
"How's the headache," Jack asked as he stuffed the bacon in his mouth, chasing it down with a slice of toast. "Want me to get Fraiser?"
Daniel didn't reply. He knew Jack could fill in the spaces between the lines of his silence quite nicely, and wasn't surprised when his call button sounded followed shortly by the crisp click of Fraiser's heels on the infirmary floor.
No words were exchanged between the two, but Daniel felt her fingers against the pulse point on his wrist while the fingers of her other hand carded through his hair.
"I'll be back in a moment," Fraiser said scarcely above a whisper as Daniel let himself drift off to sleep to the sound of Jack finishing off his breakfast.
Daniel drifted in an out for most of the day, the drugs Fraiser had given him were just enough to take the edge off his headache and let him catch snippets of sleep. Voices woke him this time and for a brief moment, he forgot where he was, almost startling himself awake.
"Sorry, Doctor Jackson. I didn't mean to wake you."
Daniel opened one eye and found Colonel Reynolds standing at the foot of his bed, the rest of SG-1 scattered about the small cubical on chairs, or in Teal'c's case, standing guard over his IV stand.
"No," Daniel mumbled, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, "you didn't. Jack was snoring."
"Was not," Jack bit back, blinking his protest. "I've been awake the whole time you were dozing."
"Someone was snoring."
"I believe that was you, Daniel Jackson," Teal'c offered.
"I don't snore."
Sam coughed. "If you say so, Daniel."
Daniel fixed Sam with a look of mild disbelief as he eased himself upright. "I take it SG-3 is back. Any word on what they plan to do with Malek?"
"They aren't going to do anything, Doctor Jackson." Reynolds response was flat, almost uninterested, and Daniel gave Jack a questioning sideways glance.
Jack leaned forward in his chair, resting his elbows on his knees and his chin in one hand. "Nothing, Nadda. Not a thing, Daniel. Malek is dead."
"Dead? What? How? Not that I'm not relieved in a way. The stuff in my mind can be quite—"
"Scary?" Jack offered.
"I was going for complicated, but scary works just as well."
"To answer your question, Daniel," Jack continued, "He tried to escape while SG-3 were escorting him to the 'gate on Nesra. Took down Major Carrolan and got hold of his weapon. Jacob and Selmac had little choice."
"Jacob and…" Daniel shook his head in disbelief. "Killing him was the only option?"
"He had Carrolan's weapon, Daniel. It was self defense."
"What about Sina and Tolaris?"
Reynolds spoke up. "Sina is going to be extracted from her host and executed for her part in your kidnap and torture, as well as treason, and any other crimes the Tok'ra see fit to charge her with."
"Jacob and Selmac put in a good word for him and he's being re-assigned. His part in the incident was more a case of guilt by association and the council decided that his own guilt over what happened to you was probably punishment enough."
"So, it's finished?" Daniel relaxed back into his pillow and palmed his eyes, letting out a low moan. "There's no one running around out there with my memories in their mind? No threat to existence type of scenario?"
"Nope," Jack said with a self satisfied smile, "and we made sure it couldn't happen again."
"How was that?"
"The colonel destroyed the modified memory device and the monitoring console. Just in case the information from the transfer—"
"Copy," Daniel corrected.
"I was gonna say copy/paste, myself," Jack added sarcastically.
Sam rolled her eyes in mock frustration. "Just in case a copy of the transfer had been stored by the monitoring equipment or in the devices themselves."
"Oh," Daniel grimaced, "I bet the Tok'ra weren't happy about that."
"That would be putting it mildly."
Relief washed over Daniel and, closing his eyes, he listened to the casual banter of his team mates as they regaled Jack's discussion with Jacob over the destruction of 'Tok'ra property'. Allowing himself to drift away with their words, he was suddenly pulled back into the conversation when he was hit by a flash of memory.
"Yes, Daniel Jackson."
Daniel shuffled onto his left side, dragging a pillow forward and punching it into a comfortable shape with his hand. "Where are Master Bra'tac and Ry'ac? I haven't heard you talk about them since I… came back."
"They are recruiting new members for the Rebel cause as part of our move towards a free Jaffa nation."
"Oh," Daniel chewed over the words for a few seconds, "okay, thanks."
"Why do you ask?"
"No reason. I was just… curious, I guess."
Teal'c tipped his head to one side, a small smile tugging at his lips, "It is good to have you back among us, Daniel Jackson."